The Esther Paradigm
by Sarah Monzon
Published by Radiant Publications
Publication Date November 2, 2017
Genres: Action/Adventure, Clean Romance, Christian Fiction
Main Character Ages: 18-24, 25-35
Written for: Adult
Hannah Pratt dreams of starting a school for the Bedouin clan she grew up with as a missionary kid, and finally her hopes are coming true. But shortly after she returns to the desert from her college years in the U.S., she discovers her parents have received threats from their Muslim neighbors. As the danger escalates, Hannah finds she’s in the middle of a battle no one seems to understand. She must decide to what lengths she'll go to stay faithful to the mission to which God has called her. Even if it costs her everything.
As sheikh, Karim Al-Amir feels the weight of responsibility as the leader of his people. When a mysterious illness ravishes the clan’s flocks and threatens to destroy their centuries-old way of life, locals believe the American doctors and their daughter, his childhood friend, Hannah, are to blame. Karim must do something to keep them safe—even if the only solution can be found within marriage vows.
In a society where the line is drawn between us and them, Christianity is outlawed, and foreigners are mistrusted, will their union heal wounds or inflict the final fatal blow?
I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
The Esther Paradigm is yet another moving story by Sarah Monzon. This modern-day retelling of the Book of Esther was very well written. Not many stories have moved me like this one. It is the heartfelt account of a sheikh who carries the burdens of his people gladly and of a woman who struggles with feelings of not measuring up.
There was an amazing account of a sandstorm that had me wanting to wash dirt out of my teeth and rub the grit from my eyes. And the moving emotions of a lonely young girl trying to fit in to a new culture, seeing her romantic dreams of being a foreign missionary exchanged for disillusionment and then again for hope. The characters were very well developed, which is evident if you look at the details in the Character Spotlights that the author provided about Hannah and Karim. The portions of the story that were told “by” Karim used a voice that sounded like an Arab and not a Westerner.
The author told of Christian missionaries living with a Muslim tribe with the threat of persecution with great sensitivity and love towards the Muslim people. The story was obviously well-researched and included information on how God is working in the Muslim world. The mention of a dream of Jesus resulting in a heart open to hear the Gospel, though related to fictional characters, is something that really is happening around the Muslim world. I work at a Christian mission organization and have been hearing for years about this very thing happening. Just a few weeks ago I heard a story from a missionary in a Muslim country who heard from a student about a dream just like that. When he commented about how unusual that was, the student later told him that it really is not unusual, he had talked to at least 13 other people who had the same dream. 🙂
While there was a fair amount of time spent going over Hannah’s fears of what physical intimacy would be like, but there was nothing inappropriate or offensive about how it was done. I would not be concerned about my young nieces reading any of the story.
One of the issues that Hannah dealt with was a feeling of always being compared to others and found lacking. She struggled with the sense of not measuring up. The journey that she traveled in dealing with this was tender and touching.
Two quotes that I especially liked in the story, enough to make note so I could include it here is:
“If everyone only did what was safe, nothing would change.”
“But I read, soul open to any stirrings of the Holy Spirit.”